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Mt. SAC Beach Volleyball Debuts New Home Court with 5-0 Blanking of Rio Hondo

Mounties No. 3's Lindsey Lane/Alysha Tullar - Photo Courtesy of DavesSportsImage
Mounties No. 3's Lindsey Lane/Alysha Tullar - Photo Courtesy of DavesSportsImage

(Walnut, CA) After weeks of practicing on the new temporary sand courts, the Mt. SAC Beach Volleyball Team finally had a match on their new home facilities and defeated visiting Rio Hondo College, 5-0 in the final South Coast Conference match of the season Friday (4/12).

"It's awesome," said Mt. SAC Beach Volleyball coach Ali Carey-Oliver of the courts. "It's heaven on earth. We're so happy for the beautiful day with our first official home match."

"On Monday (4/8) it showed rain in the forecast, so we're just so happy for the day. I think coach "Maz" is looking down on us, because it was supposed to rain."

Carey-Oliver was referring to the former longtime Mt. SAC Baseball coach Art Mazmanian, who recently passed away.

The Mounties improved to 10-9 overall on the season and finished 2-4 in the South Coast Conference.

The conference tournament will take place Friday (4-19) at El Camino College.

Prior to the first set of matches, Carey-Oliver and Athletic Director Joe Jennum thanked those involved in building and setting up the new courts. One big thank you went out to the facilities department, especially Matt Thatcher.

Thatcher oversaw the project from the beginning and said of the venue: "I learned a whole lot about something I knew nothing about a year ago. I'm proud of everyone involved and it's nice to see their own courts after practicing at a local park for the last season and a half."  

On the bright, sunny day, numerous parents and friends of the Mt. SAC players cheered the team to victory. Many of the fans sat in chairs provided on the sand.

The 4's and 5's started the competition off with victories, followed by the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 teams.

One spirited match featured a first-set comeback by the 5's – Brianda Valdez/Jocelyn Portillo. Trailing 20-16, they reeled off the final six points, behind the serving of Valdez for the 22-20 win.

"Earlier in the season I started serving underhand because my shoulder was hurting," Valdez said. "It throws teams off and that's how I got my six points."

They easily won the deciding set, 21-11 to give the Mounties the 1-0 lead.

Meanwhile, the 4's (Macy Barnes/Jessica Morse) took the first set, 21-19, but were tied up in the match as the Rio pair won set two, 21-19. The third set went to Mt. SAC, 15-11 for the 2-0 lead.

After a short break, the 1's, 2's and 3's all played simultaneously on the three courts, and took all three matches for the 5-0 sweep.

Mt. SAC's No. 1 pair of Juliana Gomez/Samantha Neely, who are having a great season with 12 wins, easily swept two sets from the Rio pair, holding them to only single-digit scores, 21-9, 21-7.

What they said:

Jocelyn Portillo: "I never thought when I was at Duarte as a junior playing indoor volleyball, that I'd be playing beach at Mt. SAC. I'm still learning beach volleyball and there is a lot of conditioning needed to play on the sand."

Brianda Valdez: "It was so much fun (today). Just having our own fans here and being able to make our own playlist (music). It's a great opportunity and not a lot of schools have a facility like this. We are truly blessed and we should take advantage of it and play hard because so many people worked so hard to get us these courts." 

Jessica Morse: "This is such a big step for this program to have these courts. We saw them bring the sand in and coach made us do runs over the hill (behind the courts) while they flattened it. It was really cool."

Malia Carr: "Beach volleyball is really a great experience, especially coming from indoor. In the sand you gotta get dirty. I'm just lying in it. I'm glad everyone came out today. This is really cool that it's on campus so that we don't have to travel anywhere to practice. We can just go right to class after practice."


No. 1 – Samantha Neely/Juliana Gomez (Mt. SAC) def. Gabrielle Cruz/Vania Maciel (RH), 21-9, 21-7

No. 2 – Malia Carr/Shaiann Palos (Mt. SAC) def. Mara Sanchez/Stephanie Perez (RH), 21-13, 21-10

No. 3 – Lindsey Lane/Alysha Tullar (Mt. SAC) def. Janine Coria/Evelyn Alferez (RH), 17-21, 21-10, 15-11

No. 4 – Macy Barnes/Jessica Morse (Mt. SAC) def. Ariel Garcia/Valerie Rodriguez (RH), 21-19, 19-21, 15-11

No. 5 – Jocelyn Portillo/Brianda Valdez (Mt. SAC) def. Danielle Betancourt/Katherina O'Brien (RH), 22-20, 21-11

Follow Mt. SAC Women's Volleyball on Twitter @MtSAC_BeachVB

Follow Mt. SAC Athletics on twitter @MtSAC_athletics or Facebook @Mountie.Athletics

For additional information, please contact the Mt. SAC Sports Information Office at 909.274.4630.